From the mid-1940s, the Witwatersrand East Rand and its gold mining and industries were the powerhouse of the South African economy (Bonner, 2000) and these industries drew in thousands of work seekers, fast-forwarding urbanisation in this region and creating a huge struggle for housing and transport. But very few of these hopeful migrants became rich, and many lived in dire poverty and squalor. There were massive systems of conflict.
Clive Chipkin passed away peacefully on January 10th 2021 in Johannesburg, aged 91. Clive was born on 21st March 1929 in Johannesburg, the city he made his own. He was an extraordinary person who lived a rich and full life and meant much to friends and colleagues in the heritage and architecture communities.
2013 Award of an Honorary D Arch
Approaching from “Old Melville” (Seventh Street), along Fourth Avenue, we cross Main Road, (which I think used to be called “the Muldersdrift Road”), where we find today a shopping centre, with a public swimming pool hidden somewhere in its bowels. This was where the Municipal Swimming Pool used to lie. The existing pool (pictured above and below) cannot meaningfully be compared to the wonderful facility that existed 50 years ago.
“In my years as Professor of Surgery at Wits, I have become aware of a disproportionately large number of students, doctors and academics associated with Wits Medical School who were educated at St John’s College. I have come to suspect that there is a St John’s Medical Mafia at work.”
The American Government was assembling a site in Arcadia, Pretoria. They wanted the entire suburban block so they could build the largest embassy in Africa. One property stood between them and the full realisation of their plan, an old home called Arkleton belonging to Dr van Bergen. The Americans appointed an independent valuer to determine the market value of the property.
102 years ago, when the so-called “Spanish Flu” arrived in South Africa, there was no national health department, and no official guidance on what to do. By mid-October the death rate was so high that town councils decided to close cinemas and schools. Some schools, such as Benoni Central School, Vogelfontein school in Boksburg, and the Springs government school were converted into emergency hospitals to treat the overflow of patients who could not be accommodated in official hospitals.
On a recent visit to the Resource Centre of the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation at the Holy Family College, Oxford Road, Johannesburg, a new acquisition was on display, namely a brass name plate from the architectural firm “Kallenbach, Kennedy and Furner ARIBA Architects“. The brass plaque had been donated to JHF by Ronald Sutherland of Durban.
The ice-cream cart or tricycle is not a new idea and goes back to the 1920s and to Mr Wall and Sons of London. They owned a butcher’s shop but the pies they made were only popular in winter. They got the idea to make ice-cream to use factory capacity during the summer months so they didn’t have to lay off workers when no-one wanted to eat hot pies. The First World War got in the way of their aspirations, but when finally launched Wall’s ice-cream, sold from ice-cream carts, the product was an instant success.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie explores the many historical layers of the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve. The piece was first published on the City of Johannesburg's website on 8 April 2002. Click here to view more of her work.
In all I have read about the Witwatersrand I have not come to know precisely when and by whom the name was coined. I am hoping that members of The Heritage Portal can throw some light on the subject, and also reflect on the reason for the given name.
A stunning new mosaic with a message of Ubuntu has brought hope and dignity to a landmark site which has in recent times been mired in squalor and decay. Highly visible to passing traffic, the small park occupies a busy corner opposite Darras Centre in Kensington.
The article below is the final piece of Mike Alfred's series on Joburg personalities from the first decade of the 21st century. Click here to view Kathy Munro's fantastic introduction and here to view the series index. The stories were written in 2005/6.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie sits down with the epic storyteller, Chris van Wyk. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 4 August 2004. Chris van Wyk passed away on 3 October 2014.
Writer and poet Chris van Wyk says he loves to skinder - “I skinder more than most women.” And that skinder or gossip accounts for a large part of his success as a writer.
In May 1900, Lord Roberts of Kandahar, Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces, was poised to culminate his illustrious military career by marching triumphantly into his enemy’s capital city and concluding the South African War. But it was a charade. There could be no victory without a vanquished foe and the Boer leaders were still at large with a fighting remnant of their army. Another two bitter years of warfare lay ahead.
From Here We Shall Never Move. These were the words inscribed almost a century ago onto a cross and mounted on a mulberry tree in a small village to the northwest of Pretoria by Fr Camillus De Hovre OMI.
The Belgian Oblate priest could not have known how these words would act as a forecast to the significance of the Most Holy Redeemer mission in the history of the Catholic Church in Pretoria, and in South Africa in general.
There is a story of a riot with much blood in the early history of the Dube Township in Soweto. It happened 11 months after the Dube hostel opened its doors on 1 October 1956. The Dube Hostel was the first government hostel in Soweto (then called the South Western Townships).
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie describes some of the victories and defeats of the Parktown & Westcliff Heritage Trust as it made its transition to becoming the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. The article was written in 2012 and published on Davie's website in 2020. Click here to view more of her work.
The article below forms part of Mike Alfred's series on Joburg personalities from the first decade of the 21st century. Click here to view Kathy Munro's fantastic introduction and here to view the series index. The stories were written in 2005/6.
In 1896 Johannesburg had reached its tenth birthday. The astounding growth of the town in its first decade meant that the authorities (at that stage It was the Johannesburg Gezondheids Comite or the Sanitary Board / Committee) wanted to know about the population of the town, its origins, location, composition, religions, local industries and occupations.
George Bizos passed away on the 9 September 2020. The article below was written by journalist Lucille Davie on 25 November 2002. It captures key aspects of his life and his love for the City of Johannesburg. Click here to view more of Davie's work.